Markus Golden Citrus Bowl notes — he’s a stud

Markus Golden has grit. Markus Golden is a leader. Markus Golden has production. Markus Golden is an athlete.

There are many reasons why Markus Golden might be a Seahawk one day. I kind of hope he’s needed enough to land in Seattle. He’s a player to root for. A player to enjoy watching. A player who leads from the front and gets the job done.

I’m not sure the Seahawks will go into the off-season feeling another pass rusher is a big priority. Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett are locked up long term. Bruce Irvin has turned into one of the more dynamic defensive playmakers in the NFL. Pete Carroll clearly has a lot of time for Cassius Marsh. The defense — while missing Marsh and other players like Brandon Mebane — has excelled in the second half of the season. Adding another first round pass rusher might be a luxury — especially with needs on the offensive side of the ball and the defensive depth available.

Make no mistake — the offense is really where the focus should be. It’s hard to find holes in Seattle’s defense. A serious injection of talent via the early rounds of the draft can have much more impact on an inconsistent offense compared to a brilliant defense. They might need to replace Marshawn Lynch, Zach Miller and James Carpenter. Do they need to bolster the O-line in general, or find more weapons for a soon-to-be $100m quarterback?

There’s every chance 2015 will be a very offensive-minded draft. At least early on. And yet a player like Golden just looks so enticing for this defense. If he’s expected to go in the top-40 — and I think he should — then they’ll really only get one shot.

He was named MVP of the Citrus Bowl and rightly so. Two sacks and ten tackles don’t do his performance justice. This was a relentless, passionate final fling for the Mizzou Tigers. A thank you to the school that gave him the chance to live out a dream. What a way to sign off.

I saved the tape to watch again in the New Year specifically to look back at Golden and Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams. I’ve broken down the impact plays Golden had below.

It’ll be intriguing to see how fast he runs (he’s a former running back) and how he measures (does he have the length Seattle loves?). The ten-yard split will be crucial as usual. Carroll reminded everyone this week how they love players with grit. Watching Golden explain his back-story and seeing him lead Missouri’s defense makes you think he’d fit like a glove.

Despite struggling with a hamstring issue mid-season and even missing a game — he finished 2014 with ten sacks and an incredible 20 TFL’s. He had 12 separate QB hurries, three forced fumbles and a couple of PBU’s. He returned a fumble for a 21-yard touchdown against Florida. This was his first season as a full-time starter.

One final point before we get into the Citrus Bowl notes (and the regulars will have seen me write this before). Last year Tennessee offensive tackle Ju’Wuan James was one of my favorite players in the draft. I ended up watching every Vols game from 2013. Only one player — one — gave James any trouble. Markus Golden. Name a SEC defender and I bet James handled him. Apart from Golden, who gave him fits.

Citrus Bowl notes vs Minnesota

1st quarter

Shane Ray picked up an injury near the start of this quarter and didn’t feature much. Missouri’s offense had a bad start and couldn’t stay on the field. As a consequence, their defense featured heavily early on. The second half was almost a complete role-reversal.

13:26 2nd and 10
Minnesota fakes the jet sweep with Golden playing left end. He reads the play perfectly, keying in on the running back who takes the hand off instead. Golden chases him down from behind for a one yard loss on the play.

12:47 3rd and 10
Golden explodes off the snap — his first step is considerably quicker than everyone else on the defensive line (including Shane Ray). The right tackle is forced into a very deep stance right off the bat. He gets his hands on Golden who just brushes him off. The tackle shoves him into a wide arch but he still has the foot speed to round the edge and sack the quarterback for a loss of six. The QB fumbles the ball as he’s taken down and it’s recovered by Missouri. Minnesota were trying to set up a screen pass and the quarterback should’ve known it was taking too long to develop. Still, credit to Golden for forcing the turnover.

11:38 1st and 10
Golden stunts inside on an I-formation running play. Maxx Williams can’t contain him and he’s two yards into the backfield, forcing the running back to bounce to the right. He doesn’t see a gap, looks indecisive and just about gets back to the LOS. Williams vs Golden was a mismatch even for a good blocking tight end.

10:19 3rd and 3
Golden again lines up against Maxx Williams, who this time is acting as a H-back in the backfield. Golden brushes him off initially but it’s a good recovery by Williams to stop him bringing the quarterback down on a QB keeper after another fake jet sweep. Once again Golden is 3-4 yards deep into the backfield, impacting the play while the rest of the D-line are stuck at the original LOS.

8:49 2nd and 1
He remains at left end and Minnesota calls a run play from a pistol look. Golden diagnoses the run and darts into the backfield to bring down the running back from behind. The Gophers continue to leave a tight end on him — this time #85 (not Williams). Two plays later they put a tackle and tight end on Golden to double team him.

7:02 1st and 10
Another running play in the I-formation. Golden stunts inside and brushes off the right tackle by dropping his shoulder and powering through. He gets a hand on the running back as he darts up the middle for a short gain. Once again he’s in the backfield impacting the play.

3:40 2nd and 3
This time Minnesota goes with the jet sweep. Golden reads it, shakes off the pathetic attempt of a block by the running back and forces the ball carrier to head to the sideline and run out of bounds for a three yard loss. This play flashed it all — the field IQ to know what Minnesota was going to do, the speed/power to brush off a weak block and then the discipline to contain the receiver and run him out of bounds for a loss. After the play you can hear Golden barking at the Gophers bench “I’m on that… I’m on that… this aint no Big Ten, this is S-E-C.”

1:18 3rd and 9
Golden and exciting defensive tackle prospect Harold Brantley both get a great burst off the snap. It’s a safe draw play by Minnesota at midfield. I froze the video at the moment the quarterback hands the ball off. Golden is four yards deep into the backfield rounding the right tackle. As the running back sets off Shane Ray (who stunted inside from the right end position) meets him but misses the tackle. The runner gets back to the LOS as a consequence, before Golden chases him down from behind for a short gain. After winning at the point as an edge rusher only for Minnesota to run a draw, he still rounds the right tackle, doubles back and makes the play to force fourth down.

(A quick note on Brantley. Missouri calls a fake punt deep inside their own half at the start of the second quarter. They fake a bad snap and get it directly to Brantley, who sprints for a 19-yard gain. He moves like a running back. This guy impressed whenever I watched Mizzou this year and he’s going to be big-time next season. He’s a terrific three-technique prospect. Another one off the production line.)

Second quarter

Missouri had a lot of the ball in this quarter — and Golden was spelled on some of the early downs and brought out again for third down.

3:46 3rd and 2
Minnesota’s quarterback and running back botch the hand off, fumbling the ball some 7-8 yards into the backfield. The runner picks it up and tries to recover some of the lost yardage but is quickly chased down by Golden from the left side for a big loss. He hops off the field in celebration.

1:04 1st and 10
Golden races into the backfield from the left edge on a read-option run. The quarterback is forced to hand the ball off because Golden takes away the edge. The running back runs into the back of one of his own linemen, allowing Golden to make yet another tackle from behind for a gain of about two. As the runner falls to the turf, Golden attempts to rip the ball out.

0:59 2nd and 8
This is the first snap where the Golden/Ray double team really excels. Nobody blocks Ray and he has a free run to the quarterback. I think they were trying to set up a screen of some kind with Maxx Williams running one of his crossing routes from left-to-right. Golden easily beats the right tackle again. It’s a stop-start move — he engages the tackle then throws a subtle punch to the chest before accelerating into the backfield. Hand use, speed-to-power — big box-ticking exercise for the next level here. Both Ray and Golden hammer the quarterback at the same time — but the pass is just complete to Williams who somehow avoids a loss of yards by breaking one tackle and fighting to the first down marker. It’s a great effort play by Williams. Despite having all three time-outs and the first down at around midfield, Minnesota’s coach just runs out the clock. Bizarre. Especially after Mizzou bagged an onside kick immediately after half time.

Third quarter

The second half begins with Missouri leading 10-7. The camera zooms into a shot of Golden who has Shane Ray by the arm and is speaking into his ear. Ray is nodding in agreement, with a determined expression on his face. It looked like a ‘this is our last half of football together’ moment.

12:02 1st and 10
This is the Maxx Williams hurdling touchdown play. Golden is jolted by the right tackle and for pretty much the first time in the game stone-walled at the LOS. After a bit of hand-fighting he shakes off the block and dips inside, running into the guard and center who do a good job keeping the pocket clean. You can’t fault the effort of Golden and the motor — but the O-line wins this down. The extra time allows Williams to get open and the rest is history.

8:11 2nd and 6
Gordon rushes inside from the left end position and shakes off the right tackle with a nice swim move. By the time the running back gets the hand off Golden is dead central, in the backfield waiting to make the tackle — literally stood behind where the center lined up. Golden hits the running back for a loss of two.

7:30 3rd and 8
It’s a shotgun pass by the quarterback. Golden rushes the left edge and the right tackle lunges to try and make a cut block. It’s easily dodged with some nice footwork and he races to the quarterback as he’s about to throw — leaping in the air with his arms out-stretched. The pass is batted down.

0:14 2nd and 10
Minnesota’s quarterback fumbles the ball after a hit by Shane Ray on a QB-keeper. Brantley picks it up and then fumbles himself. Golden — who was rushing the left edge — sprints to the football as another team mate falls on it. It’s a great effort play to go after the ball until the turnover was confirmed. In contrast — Ray, who forced the fumble, just stands over the quarterback smack-talking while the play unfolds.

Fourth quarter

9:16 1st and 10
The quarterback in the shotgun tosses the ball to the running back — who looks for the trick play throw back to the QB. Golden disengages the right tackle and flies to the RB as he sets to throw. He just gets it off — but the pressure is such he almost throws it straight to Brantley who is also in the backfield.

7:57 1st and 10
Attempted screen pass. The right tackle runs to the next level leaving the running back to block 1v1 against Golden. What happens? Golden just grabs him and tosses him away. No kidding. He just rag dolls him out of the way and hammers the quarterback for a sack. Too. Easy. A total mismatch.

7:08 3rd and 17
Golden isn’t on the field for this play — but Brantley drops into coverage and actually moves like a nimble linebacker to take away the middle of the field. Did I mention this Brantley guy is going to be a stud?

2:00 2nd and goal
Golden is unblocked into the backfield and forces a bad throw which is almost picked off (and potentially run all the way back).

After the game, Golden was named Citrus Bowl MVP.

With Bennett and Avril, the Seahawks have the kind of pass-rushing tandem most teams would love. There aren’t many clubs with more than a couple of really productive edge rushers. It’d be nice to get a three-man rotation going, but I think it’s too early to write-off Cassius Marsh after one injury. They could easily add another player, like Nate Orchard or Owamagbe Odighizuwa, in the middle rounds. That would allow them to concentrate on the offense early.

Yet even so, there’s just something about Golden that really appeals. It’s a pretty good year for defensive linemen — there’s every chance you’ll get a good one even at the back end of round one. If they do go D-end early, I hope Golden is considered. If he doesn’t fit in Seattle — he looks like a shoe-in to end up in the AFC North.


  1. Steve Nelsen

    I love the idea of adding a LEO. We have some pass rush but no stud LEOs other than Avril. I think there is room for Golden on the roster and he could be a valuable part of the rotation. I think Marsh projects into the Bennett role.

    • Rob Staton

      The thing is, I don’t think Golden has the body type of an ideal LEO. I’m also not convinced he’ll be quite as explosive as Avril was/is at the combine — or Irvin.

      As much as I like him — I have to consider that.

    • Volume 12

      Could not agree more Steve.

  2. Brett

    Great stuff Rob, really enjoyed this article and appreciate all the hard work you put into this site! I’m curious to hear where you’d personally grade Golden as a prospect this year, even if its not an accurate projection of where you think he’ll be drafted. Top ten? Top five? I know its a deep draft for pass rushers which deflates his value a little, but I suppose I’m asking where you place him on your own personal “Big Board” with all of this years draft prospects.

    • Rob Staton

      I think he should go in the top-40.

  3. peter

    let us let this year be the end of the AFC North scouting department. for the life of me I do not understand why Ray and Dupree are considered so much further then Golden?! I get they are both great but significantly greater then Markus? I doubt it. mizzou is getting to be a factory and in a good way Pinkels guys look ready for bigger things at the pro level, like LSU…

    Honestly Rob after the draft I think you had a clip of Golden up for a month (maybe less!) and I all I could think was he looks a little stout for Seattle but if his 3 cone rips…lets do this.

    I know offense and all that but at 28-32 if Golden is there what offensive talent would trump him at that spot….Anyone?

    • JeffC

      You mean at 32…because that’s where they’ll be drafting.

  4. Cysco

    I’m pretty convinced that the FO is going to solve the need for a big WR via a trade in the offseason (Vincent Jackson or Larry Fitzgerald or???) Or, they may just sign Fitzgerald as a free agent if/when ARZ cuts him loose.

    The money for that new receiver will probably come at the expense of Lynch. I don’t think there’s going to be the big WR option there at 32 to warrant the pick. With Lynch gone, there’ll be a need for RB, and that’ll probably be priority #1 in the draft. But, like your last mock showed, there’s a chance none of the top three studs make it to the end of rd 1.

    In this scenario, I could see them going best available, which would be Golden IMO. Production, leadership, passion for the game. The dude would be a perfect fit on this team.

    The offense isn’t so bad off that I can see the team fighting the board. If a guy isn’t there at 32 that can help them on offense, I would hope they take the best guy available.

    Markus Golden in the first and Maxx Williams in the second please (unless Gurley is there at 32)

    • Rob Staton

      I’m sure I’ve seen somewhere that it’s nearly impossible for Arizona to cut Fitz because it’d cost way too much. If it comes down to a trade, hard to see the Cardinals dealing with another NFC West team. Jackson on the other hand — I could definitely see that.

      • Cysco

        man, if the cap ramifications prohibit the cardinals from cutting Fitzgerald, that team is seriously screwed. If he’s on that team next year his cap hit is over $20m! He’d be like a top-3 most expensive player in the league. the guy has no incentive to restructure his deal for them and no team in their right mind is going to trade for him if he has no incentive to restructure his contract. Ouch.

      • Cameron

        It’s not impossible. The Cards would save 9.2 million in 2015 if they released Fitz. True there is 14.4 million in dead money, but that is sunk money that is there if he plays for them or not. So the question is, is Fitz worth 9.2 million? Considering their cap situation and lengthy list of impending free agents, I think the answer is no.

        They’ll likely ask Fitz to take a reduced base salary and roster bonus, and my guess is he’ll accept that.

    • rowdy

      There’s no way I see this team spending 7+ mil on a 30+ y/o wr especially at the expense of lynch. I don’t want to see a trade for jackson for 1-2 years with his contract and losing a mid round pick. Larry almost has to redo his contract with Arizona, they can’t really cut him without screwing up their cap or keep him with his contract. Both will have to take a 5 mil pay cut to come here imo. Johnson would probably be the cheapest but still cost good money. I agree with the idea but I just don’t see it working with what’s out there. Gordon the best option from a cap point of view but is scary from every other view. Is there any other wr that could be an option?

      • Cysco

        Sure sounds like Lynch is gone one way or another so it’s probably not entirely up to the FO to make the call.

        • rowdy

          That could very well likely be the case but if it comes to money I’d rather pay lynch then a receiver that’s gets 4 targets a game.

          • Volume 12

            Why does it sound like Lynch is gone?

            Spot on Rowdy. No thanks to VJax. I’m pretty sure for lese than half of what he’ll cost, they can find an equal replacement.

            • Drew

              Just saw a report on Brandon Marshall and that he might not be with the Bears next year. I could definitely see PC/JS trying to add him as they tried last time. Even though he does have his issues, I’m sure he’d much rather catch a few less passes and win ball games than be on a terrible Bears team with Jay Cutler as his QB.

              After the Bears game in 2012 he had high praise for Russell, even said he was a guy he could learn from.

              • Cysco

                Now that would strike me as another potential Harvin move. The problem with the Harvin deal was that he was a veteran player making big money. That commands attention in the locker room. Had Harvin been a 2nd year player pulling that crap, he would have been laughed out of the locker room by his teammates.

                Marshal has the potential to be the same thing. Respected, big name guy, making big money. If he rocks the boat, there’s a chance he gets other people rocking with him.

                • Arias

                  I’ve seen nothing to indicate that marshall has been any sort of locker room problem since getting his mental health issues with borderline personality disorder under control with meds. Have you? My understanding is that he’s been a consummate teammate since.

            • Cysco

              I’m a realist. There has been way too much smoke about Lynch being gone for there not to be some truth to it. It had quieted down a bit, but M-Rob’s tweet of “enjoy it while you can” after beastquake 2.0 makes me believe there’s still smoke there.

              I’d be thrilled if he stayed, but I haven’t seen a single article that states he’ll be back.

              Regarding the money I tend to agree, but if you look at the production of Michael and Turbin, it’s pretty much on par with what Lynch has done. So ask yourself, is the drop off of Lynch to Turbin/Michael greater than the increase of adding a player like Fitzgerald? I don’t know.

              • Rob Staton

                If I was a betting man — and I’m not — I’d put my five bucks on Marshawn retiring in the off-season.

                • Cysco

                  Indeed. Especially if they win the Superb Owl again. Lynch strikes me as the Barry Sanders mentality. “yah, I think i’m done” Poof Gone.

                • CC

                  Especially if the Seahawks finish the season with a win – I think Marshawn could retire. I think that while we see him run with abandon, it also seems like he has been hurting. He’s smart enough to know he wants to be able to walk at the end of it – and he also knows that he’ll unlikely go to the HOF because the writers do the voting. A parade and a bottle of Fireball might be the best way for him to finish off his career.

              • Volume 12

                Can’t believe everything you read. That said if Seattle does win the SB this year, I’d say Lynch definitely retires. Why not go out on top?

                I think it’s about more than production with Lynch. As we all know, he’s the identity, sets the tone, and the backbone of this team.

    • Ho Lee Chit

      I think Fitz is starting to lose a little off his game. I doubt we are interested unless he comes cheap. I could see them making a run at Duron Carter of the CFL. I am not sold that they really want the big WR. After all they passed on Jordan Matthews, Cody Latimer, Donte Moncrief, Martavis Bryant, Brandon Coleman and others last year. Until week 17 they could have claimed Coleman off the Saints practice squad. Last year would have been the time to get the big receiver. Instead, they choose Richardson and Norwood. This year the WR pickings are slim.

      Marcus Golden looks like a stud and he could be the guy. Who knows?

      • Rob Staton

        I think they realised during the season that they need a big receiver or a good pass catching TE. That’s why they enquired after Thomas, Fleener, Cameron and Jackson.

      • Drew

        We already have a big WR from the CFL, 6’5″ 220lb Chris Matthews. He needs some development, but for the draft capital and our current roster make up, I’m glad with who they drafted last year, even if it’d be great to have a couple of those other guys.

      • CC

        Carter is going to sign with a team that throws the ball a lot – Indy is the most likely choice.

      • Alaska Norm

        I wOuld love to see Cris Carters take on the Seahawks “pedestrian” receivers if they did pick up his boy Duron. I’m not sure Chris would be welcomed with open arms on father son day.

      • Arias

        I don’t think the seahawks are interested in Carter anymore. They are not mentioned among the teams he has visited or scheduled to visit. And the list is long.

  5. Ed

    Golden would be great. I also like Funchess and Williams. As well as helping OL in 2nd and 3rd or 3rd and 4th.

    Off topic, a lot of teams need head coaches and they seem to be waiting. I know they are waiting for Quinn and probably Gase, but do you see Bevell anywhere too?

    Atlanta or NY – Quinn
    Oak – Bevell

    • Rob Staton

      I’m not convinced Bevell will depart but the writing is on the wall with Quinn it seems. I like the idea of consistency on offense and some early picks to add to the group.

    • rowdy

      If we make it to the superbowl I don’t see any team waiting that long. Maybe they wait til the nfc championship but not the superbowl. Teams seemed to wait last year too but never that long.

      • JeffC

        Clayton said on the radio that Quinn won’t get hired if seattle makes the sb. We’ll see. I hope he is the heir apparent to Carroll.

        • Ed

          I don’t understand that. Why wouldn’t you wait 2 extra weeks. Is that really going to hurt your team more than hiring a bad coach. Great for us, bad for Quinn and teams stuck in insanity.

          • rowdy

            If you wait you end up picking through the left overs for position coach’s and personal to fit with said coach. Your scouting department will also be a month behind.

            • Matt

              Ed- I don’t get it either. 2 weeks for the best candidate doesn’t seem like a big deal at all.
              Rowdy- I understand your argument,and you’re probably right, but the combine isn’t until Feb 17 and the draft April 30. I think that leaves the scouting department plenty of time to get their needs targeted and a big board put together.

              • rowdy

                I agree with you about the draft. I just heard that was one reason teams don’t do it, the position coach’s being the main reason. Plus, if your hiring nfl guys they already been doing it for whatever team they worked for and should have a good idea who’s out there.

        • Volume 12

          This may just be a rumor, but I’ve heard that PC is grooming Rocky Seto to be Seattle’s next HC.

          • Cysco

            Wouldn’t be surprised in the least. He’s been attached to PC for a long time. Heck, even his mannerisms when he speaks are like Pete’s.

    • CC

      Sounds like Bevell didn’t even meet the bad haired owner – so I doubt he’s getting the Raiders job.

      While I appreciate the nature of our offense and that we had a lot of explosive plays, our offense can be better and more consistent. It seems like we’ve left a lot of opportunities on the field. Russell has only 3 full years as a starter, he will continue to grow, but it can’t hurt to give him back a safety blanket tall receiver who can bail him out a few times in the red zone.

      • Steve Nelsen

        A big red-zone TE who can block in the run game would be a great way to help to Russell without changing the offensive philosophy.

        • Arias

          Sounds like they could use Zach Miller.

  6. kevin mullen

    As much as I would like the FO to draft this kid, I think the bigger need on our DLine is an interior presence. Mebane, KWilliams, McDaniel, JHill all rotated this year and only JHill is guaranteed to be here next year. I think they’ll get Mebane restructured but there’s no certainty that’ll happen. We need another +300lb plug in the middle.

    That being said, this kid looks very similar to Irvin coming out, maybe more polished as he’s not relying soley on speed. DQuinn could possibly not take a HC gig if there’s certainty we’d go after this guy.

    • Drew

      JHill has 2 more years on his rookie contract.

    • Arias

      At 5.5 mil cap hit I don’t see why they’d cut him instead of letting him play out the last year of his contract if it comes to that.

  7. Matt

    Golden is a perfect fit schematically and attitude wise. It’ll be interesting to see his measureables and how he runs. He looks to have slight alligator arm syndrome, which can be a problem at the next level. Regardless this is the exact type of player JS/PC target. Leader, great production, hard worker, looks like a great athlete, relentless.

    LEO is not a pressing need by any means, but Irvin’s contract is coming up after next year. I’m an Irvin believer, and believe his best days lay ahead, but how much money can we spend at LB? KJ got his contract and Wagner is next. Thinking Irvin might get squeezed out, unfortunetly. KPL, who looks very athletic, is waiting in the wings to replace Smith in 2015 then possibly Irvin. Golden would fit into a more level DL rotation right away, then get heavier playing time in 2016. You can never have too many pass rushers, and JS/PC are always thinking 2-3 years ahead.

    • Ed

      I think they resign Irvin. Wilson, Irvin and Wagner this year.

      • Matt

        Hope you’re right! If JS/PC can lock up 8 of our defensive starters for the next 3 years we will be remembered as the best defense of all time!

        • Ed

          Another reason I think Okung and Unger have 1 more year. We pay Wilson, Irvin and Wagner and get young and cheap on ol, wr and rb.

    • Volume 12

      They have to re-sign Irvin. It would make no sense not to, right as he’s coming into his own and starting to peak.

      I agree LEO may not be their first pick, but it is somewhat a need. If we can call it a ‘need.’ If Avril goes down who’s the LEO? And please don’t say Bennett, because if that’s the case and Marsh comes in for Bennett, then who comes in to help out those two and add to the rotation?

      I get that most defense’s don’t have multiple good pass rushers, but Seattle’s defense isn’t just ‘any defense in the NFL.’

  8. Ross

    Golden is listed on ESPN at 6’3 260. Irvin is 6’3 250, and his problem when auditioning for the full-time LEO role was his inability to hold against the run. If Golden is bigger then I could see him being a starting defensive end.

    Really, he’s the kind of guy I could see going way earlier than expected. For whatever reason, maybe it’s his lack of noteworthy measurables, he’s flown a little under the radar in this deep pass rushing draft class, but he has insane production and his tape is amazing. He’s not quite the complete sleeper that Ja’Wuan James was but scouts have got be looking at the film and licking their lips, waiting for the Combine.

    • Drew

      I think Irvin has shown that he can hold against the run now from playing SAM. His rookie year he couldn’t, but he’s developed since then. I think he’s done a tremendous job at it this year. He doesn’t always stuff the staff sheet but he is techinically sound. The coaches have done a great job with him.

  9. Volume 12

    This probably will be an offensive heavy draft, but I still think they add right around 4 pieces on Defense. There’s no way with the ‘ol’ defensive mastermind’ PC sitting in that draft room that they won’t. I’m not saying they’ll all be picked early on that side of the ball.

    Why does it seem that Seattle has to take a big WR in the 1st? Are there not good options and or alternatives throughout the draft? So they take one in the 3rd, 4th, or 5th. Is the majority of this roster not made up of mid round picks? I get the feeling there’s a reason JS acquires a multitude of mid round picks. 9 x out of 10, that’s usually the sweet spot come draft day.

    Rob, I know you are and you know I’m a HUGE fan of UCLA DE Owa Odighizuwa, but if Seattle were to take him, do you see him as a LEO in this defense?

    • Rob Staton

      I think he could play the edge, move inside at times. I think he’d be a nice acquisition.

      • Phil

        Totally agree on “OO” (or should it be “Oh Oh”?). His pass rushing technique needs some work, but he seems to be really strong and athletic. I haven’t checked out his measurables, but I think he will impress at the combine.

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      At the risk of expressing an unpopular assessment, Owa is a better prospect than Golden.

      Obviously Golden has more experience, a bigger body of work upon which to evaluate him, has played on what is arguably the best defense in the most competitive collegiate conference, etc., etc.

      However, if Owa had played in 2013 along with Barr and Marsh, I think he’d be the 1 or 2 DE prospect in the 2015 draft.

      We’ll have to wait for the Combine, but I’m willing to bet he has the best 10 yard split of all DEs.

      • Phil

        Here’s some video of Owa against Virginia.

        • CHawk Talker Eric

          Let me be clear about my assessment of quickness.

          Golden is plenty quick with a great first step. But IMO he appears quicker than he is because he anticipates the snap better than just about any player I’ve ever seen.

          Owa simply is quicker.

          • Volume 12

            Not an unpopular assessment IMO.

            I agree if he hadn’t had the 2 injuries, he could be a 1st round pick. He may still end up one, because your right CHawk, all indications and reports are that Owa will have an amazing combine performance. After all DT Dominique Easley ended up a 1st round pick, and at this time last year, I’d say that was a complete non-thought.

  10. Jeff M.

    Pass-rusher may not be a first-round need, but it’s likely a need in the top half of the draft. Schofield played 35% of defensive snaps this year and may well be gone (he would have been last year but for failing a physical). And that’s with both Bennett (85%) and Avril (73%) playing more snaps that we want them to long-term (last year with Clemons and Bryant on board, Bennett and Avril were at 58% and 53%).

    Hopefully Marsh can pick up some of the slack next year, but we still need to add a rotation pass-rusher who can play something like 40-50% of snaps–spelling both Bennett and Avril and acting as a 3rd rusher in the Nickel when Bennett moves inside. Maybe that guy is available in the 3rd or 4th if they go offense at the top of the draft, but a first-rounder wouldn’t be wasted–Irvin played 43% of snaps his rookie year after being picked in the mid-first so that’s about the level of contribution we’d be looking for.

    • Rob Staton

      I think it’s a fair assessment — it’s just how much stock do you place on bringing in a guy who plays 40-50% of the snaps? For me that could be a pick in the R3-5 range with the depth at DE this year.

  11. Volume 12

    Well said Jeff. I think ‘priority’ could be used as the right term. Definitely need another Leo.

    • Rob Staton

      I think they could do with further depth at the LEO, even with Marsh returning. But I’m not totally convinced they need to spend a first or second round pick on the issue. The depth is there at DE.

  12. JaviOsullivan

    Rob, what do you think about Malcolm Bunche UCLA OT 6’7 327?

    I have seen several of his videos and looks good pass protection vs Markus Golden and Nate Orchard. Very interesting OT ┬┐possible OG? in 7round/UDFA

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve not focused on him Javi — although I’m pretty certain he hasn’t faced Golden (Missouri didn’t play UCLA) and in the game against Utah (vs Orchard) the Bruins gave up double digit sacks.

      • JaviOsullivan

        Sorry, Nate Orchard and Eli Harold.

        Thanks anyway.

  13. hawkfaninMT

    A little off topic…

    Are the Hawks expecting Jesse Willaims back next year? Or have they more or less thrown in the towel as a “nice try, but didn’t work out” kinda pick?

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      He’s still a Seahawk, and if you follow his twitter feed, he sounds like he’s working hard to make it back.

    • Rob Staton

      I suspect this one is going to be a lost cause. Shame — Williams is a good player. But it’d be some comeback now. Let’s hope he makes it.

  14. EranUngar

    Marsh, until proven otherwise, is a rookie on IR and one injury away from a has been. It’s harsh but you can’t take him fore granted in any role. A “sure thing” LEO starting 50% of the snaps with potential to grow is not a bad pick for the 1st round. We may need an internal pass rusher more but if this guy give the vibes of a sure thing he is a worthy option for the 1st.

    It will probably make the 2nd pick OL and 3rd BPA OL/DL/TE.

    • Rob Staton

      I think there will be a bigger priority on ammunition for Wilson than that. Possibly leaving the first two days of the draft without a TE/WR/RB seems unlikely IMO — they have to supply Wilson with more, especially when he’s worth $100m.

      • Volume 12

        To Eran’s point, wouldn’t it be fair to say though that beside 2010 1st round picks S Earl Thomas and LT Russell Okung that NONE of Seattle’s 1st round picks or 1st overall picks have played more than 50%? Whether it be due to injuries or any other circumstance, It seems as though some of the mid or late round picks have played more.

        Ii makes sense to me, because usually or all of the time their first overall picks are amazing athletes with high upside, whereas the mid rounder’s are more of the ‘meat and potatoes,’ less upside, maybe more of a complete player type.

        I think it is unlikely they leave the first two days of the draft without an offensive weapon, but RW seems to be a guy who elevates and or makes those around him better.

        • Rob Staton

          Carpenter plays more than 50% when he’s on the field obviously — and Bruce has been at 100% at times this year and I think that will continue into next year too (at least 90-95%). He’s become a vital part of the defense.

          • Volume 12

            What I was trying to say was in their rookie year they haven’t. OG Carp probably did as a rookie, although if I remember right, I think he got hurt his first year.

  15. Volume 12

    Speaking of, or since we’ve been more or less discussing the LEO position…

    Check out Virginia DE-LEO/ATH Max Valles-6’5, 240 lbs. 2014 season totals: Led the team in QB sacks with 9.5, 12.5 TFL (over 25% of his career tackles have been TFL), 4 QB hurries, 4 FF. This kid may have some of the longest arms I’ve seen on a DE. He’s only 19 years old!, and quite the physical specimen, is a former TE, and reportedly every bit the athletic freak, if not more so, than DE-LEO Eli Harold is. If he had stayed 1 more year in school, we’re talking 1st or definitely high 2nd round pick.

    Now with that being said, he is extremely raw and unrefined and therefore would be a project pick or obviously brought along slowly, but man this kid has some drooling/mouth watering potential! He seems like the type of upside pick Seattle seems to make every year in the mid rounds. He’d be a great addition with one of their comp picks in the 3rd or 4th round. He’s still learning how to play the game and that has to be very appealing for a defensive minded HC like PC.

    With this more than likely being an offensive heavy draft, he could be that LEO type we’ve been debating who only gets a certain % of snaps, which in my mind, would suit him perfectly.

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